So a J1 sounds great after a long stressful year of college, everyone is going, the pictures of a California sunset are already coming into view, the sound of night life at Long beach is already ringing in your ears and the excitement of a plane touching down in the US for three months without the parents is almost immeasurable.
But, there is a problem! Despite the great deals on visas and the job opportunities and social prospects of meeting new people from all corners of the world. The money just isn’t there! After the stress of paying college fees that are inevitably on the increase forking out another considerable amount of money is just not an option.
For many other students the summer also involves working a full time job. Speaking from personal experience, I was so excited about booking my J1 to San Diego back in January. We had everything set and ready to book, I just needed to clear it with work first. During the college year I work part time at the weekends while in the summer months I work on call for a major retail store. I figured they would have no problem replacing me for a couple of weeks because there are so many people looking for jobs and especially because bringing in someone new would allow them to save money on wages as oppose to the higher rate that I was on. It seemed like a win, win situation really.
Although the company was helpful and saw it as a great opportunity they did point out that it was a rather silly idea for me to give up such a good wage for such a long period of time while also, indicating that I would not be allowed to return to my job, if I was to leave.
So here I am on the back foot wondering what I am to do with my summer, going from three months in the US with friends to no holiday at all was pretty rough so I got on Google and started searching. A massive amount of music events have popped up this summer around Ireland, but I think the idea of jetting off on a plane for a while is the experience that is most sought after. I went on to have a look at where us students could send ourselves off to for a few days that would be both affordable and a great craic.
The Rock Werchter 2013 festival takes place in Belgium this July and has a line-up that just about appeals to everyone. From Kings of Leon to Passenger to Frank Ocean. There is something for everyone and it can only get better, the website offers fantastic ways to suit everyone’s needs from offering combination tickets that can include camping or if you would prefer some of Belgium’s cheap but comfortable hotels. You also have the opportunity to buy food and drink coupons while booking your ticket so the worry of spending or more likely losing money doesn’t have to be an issue.
So I hear what you are thinking, how do we get to Belgium? Well, RyanAir offers cheap flights to Brussels on a regular basis, while last minute deals can also be advantageous. Over all five nights in a hotel, with a combination of a four day festival pass and return flights with RyanAir, comes in at an estimated cost of €500, yes! I said it €500, for a week of what can only be described as total fun and madness!
Another way to spend time and save money this summer, is to simply grab a group of friends, jump on a boat to England. (The Irish ferries sails from Rosslare to Pembroke from €90 per person return, including a car) and have a ‘Rollercoaster toaster!’ Sound Crazy? Oakwood in Prembroke, Thorpe Park in Surrey and Alton Towers in Straffordshire all offer an affordable way to discover the theme parks of England while being a fun way to really bring out your inner child.
Use the idea of a ‘Rollercoaster toaster’ to race friends around the English countryside, aiming to grab yourself a picture on the many rollercosters there are to enjoy. Group tickets for entrance to all theme parks can be bought at a discounted online price and are all below £50. The estimated cost for a long weekend of theme park craziness across the water comes in at approximately €250. Sounds like a fun ride!
However, if rollercoaster racing in England or music festivities in Belgium is still a little out of reach, then fear not fellow student. There is plenty more to see and do that is all available at your finger tips. Fancy a break away from the hustle and bustle of your home town? Want to just get away from the crowds while staying close to home? How about a trip out West?
The Aran Islands are one of the last remaining places in the country that depicts how Ireland used to be in the ‘rare old times’, not only will you be leaving behind a large extent of civilisation and Facebook accessibility but you will also be taking a step out of the present and into the past. Despite its small size, the islands off the cost of Co. Galway are pouring with ‘craic agus ceol’. Take a walk around the village, eat fish and chips and listen to the local ‘Ceilí band’ all while over-looking the cliffs of Moher on the horizon. A variety of B&B’s are available at a low cost while camping facilities are also an intriguing option.
So what do you say? Who needs the US for 3 months when Europe and even Ireland offers an extensive range of just about anything to rid you of those summer blues.